DAY 89 (9/7/05): Seaside to Tillamook, OR 52.3 mi.  Today we rode on 101 all da
y, cycling the steep rolling terrain of the Oregon coast.  For once, the weathe
r was relatively clear in the morning, and our climbing efforts were rewarded w
ith amazing ocean views.  There are lots of huge rock outcroppings known as sea
stacks in the water which are remnants of the old shoreline.  Some of them eve
n have trees growing on tops, and the surf swirls around them and occassionally
kicks up big walls of spray.  By afternoon it was pretty cold and foggy again,
so when we arrived in Tillamook we were lured off the road by the sign in fron
t of a gourmet cheese maker offering cheese and wine tasting.  Sadly, both chee
se and wine were entirely unexceptional (Tobias and I are a particularly tough 
crowd, though).  We camped at a little RV park directly across the street from 
the Tillamook cheese factory, which is world famous in Oregon.  We made our ver
y first campfire of the trip in a little gazebo with a fire pit.  It was quite
an undertaking because the wood that som
e other camper had left behind was quite damp, and we didn't have any kindling 
aside from a few dried-out blackberry vines.  Tobias was very determined to dem
onstrate his mastery over nature, however, and after 90 min of fussing, relight
ing and poking we had a nice blaze going.  Combined with a bottle of local pino
t noir, we stayed warm even as the fog thickened at night.  

DAY 90 (9/8/05): Tillamook to Lincoln City, OR 64.1 mi.  This morning I got up 
early, while Tobias was still asleep, and went on a tour of the Tillamook chees
e factory.  The factory can be viewed from a fishbowl-like area above the main 
production line, and is an impressive array of huge stainless steel tanks, pipe
s, conveyor lines, and other machinery.  The cheese is aged in 40 lb blocks in 
a special climate-controlled room, and once it has aged the blocks are unwrappe
d and fed through a machine that cuts each block into the familiar 1 lb rectang
les that you buy at the store.  The 40 small blocks come out of the machine sti
ll in the form of the single large block, and it is the job of two women with v
ery fast hands to manually separate all 40 of the small pieces and arrange them
in a neat row on a conveyor belt in front of them.  From there the little bloc
ks pass over scale that boots any that are undersized into a "scraps" bin, and 
then into a wrapping machine.  The clear plastic cheese wrappers come in a roll
and as each block comes along it is pos
itioned on top of the part of the wrapper with writing on it.  Then the wrapper
is cut and sealed by a wrapping machine.  Two poor souls have the job of watch
ing the machine to make sure it doesn't jam, and to pull out any miswrapped che
eses and any cheese wrappers that are empty (which is what happens if there is 
a gap in the row of little blocks on the conveyor).  All in all, an impressive 
operation.  The factory also offers free samples of cheese curds and then mild,
medium, sharp, and extra sharp cheddar, plus the opportunity to purchase all y
our favorite Tillamook products and souverniers.  After the cheese factory, I h
auled poor Tobias out of his tent and we rode off on the Three Capes scenic rou
te, which remains coastal as 101 turns inward.  While I'm sure that the route i
s scenic, we could barely even see each other through the thick fog, especially
at the tops of several big hills that we had to climb.  On the descent off of
one of these, we were greeted by
what looked like a classic New Hampshire winter scene of pinetrees in the drif
ting snow.  Of course, the "snow" was really drifting sand, but white enough to
create a really convincing illusion.  By the time we arrived in Lincoln City w
e were feeling pretty wintery ourselves and decided to spring for a cheap motel
room so that we could warm up and dry our gear.

DAY 91 (9/9/05): Lincoln City to Newport, OR 33.5 mi.  We had a very leasurely 
start this morning since we stayed at the motel long enough to do all of our la
undry, and then went to an internet cafe so that Tobias could write a few lengt
hy emails.  On our way to Newport, we stopped at the Devil's Punchbowl, a reall
y spectacular huge sandstone bowl with red and yellow sandstone walls.  There i
s a hole in one of the walls of the bowl that is open to the ocean, so each tim
e a wave crashes in to shore the water rushes into the bowl and sets the conten
ts churning.  Immediatwly adjacent to the punchbowl is the Flying Dutchman wine
ry, so we did a tasting there.  All the wines were good but a bit too expensive
for us.  We then rode on to South Beach state park, which had a very nice hike
r-biker area.  We chatted with the only other two bike tourers that we've met s
o far: a shy German guy who is carrying at least 50% more gear than I am for a 
tour 1/4 the length, and a U of O frat guy type who is touring on a
full-suspension mountain bike and is carrying all o
f his gear on his back as he travels from brewery to brewery along the coast.

DAY 92 (9/10/05): Newport to Florence, OR 55.3 mi.  Today was another day of go
rgeous costal riding with views of sea stacks, light houses, and wide open beac
hes.  In some places, the road was only 50 yds from the surf, and there were pl
aces where you could see that the road had once been even closer to the ocean b
efore the sandy bank underneath gave way and forced the road to be repaved fart
her inland.  After this section, the road shifted inland as we entered the Oreg
on Dunes--tens of miles of huge sand dunes with beach grass and pine trees.  We
decided not to rent dune boards or ATV's, and instead proceded on to Honeyman 
state park, which also had a nice biker camping area.  All told there were abou
t 8 or 10 cyclists there, more than I had seen on my whole trip so far.    We a
ll congregated around one of the fire pits when one Canadian guy tried to get a
fire going.  His wood was wet, though, and couldn't be coaxed into burning, ev
en with the aid of a little kerosene donated by a British guy.  Then, almost on
cue, a huge downpour began, scattering 
all of us to our tents.  The rain continued all night long, which is fun to lis
ten to inside a dry tent, even if you know it means you will pack up wet gear t
he next day.